Deputies: Central Florida man caught on video pouring bleach into coworker’s drink

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A DeLand man has been charged with poisoning after deputies say he was caught on video pouring bleach into a coworkers drink over recent “disagreements.”


According to the sheriff’s office, their investigation started Monday evening when deputies were called to a Dollar General store in DeLand for a possible poisoning.

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The victim told investigators he’d been arguing with a coworker who he believed was holding a grudge against him.

The victim said he was drinking a Pepsi from his lunch when he sat it down and went to the restroom. When he returned, he said he took a drink and believed bleach or other cleaning supplies had been poured into it based on the taste and smell.

The victim said he immediately called 911, informed his manager, and put the Pepsi away for safekeeping until deputies arrived.

Deputies say the victim told them he suspected the coworker he was feuding with, a janitor at the store identified as 48-year-old Jerome Ellis, had tampered with his drink while he was in the restroom.

Surveillance video showed the victim sit his drink behind a counter and walk away before Ellis can be seen behind the same counter pouring bleach near where the can was left. Deputies say the video shows Ellis attempt to wipe the can off with a paper towel before placing it back in its original spot.

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A few minutes later, Ellis returns to the can and appears to spit in it, then wipes it down again.

Deputies say the victim can clearly be seen making a “distraught” face when he returned and took a drink from the can.

According to the sheriff’s office, the video surveillance also shows Ellis in a back room attempting to unplug the camera system.

Deputies say Ellis initially claimed there was no argument between he and the victim, and that he only accidentally spilled cleaning solution near the can then wiped it clean.

Once confronted with the video evidence, deputies say Ellis admitted to putting cleaning solution around the brim of the drink to get back at the victim for “being difficult to work with.”

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Ellis was arrested and charged with poisoning food or water and tampering with evidence.

He’s being held in the Volusia County jail on a total of $20,000 bond.

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